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Minister laments over high illiteracy rate

Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Jean Sendeza has expressed concern that over five million people in the country do not know how to read and write.

Malawi on Friday 9th September, 2023 joined the rest in commemorating World literacy day held under the theme, ‘Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies’.

Speaking during the commemoration ceremony that was held at Mdeka Ground, Traditional Authority Chigaru in Blantyre, Sendeza appealed  to parents to continue sending their children to school in large numbers saying  time has come for adults to start attending adult literacy classes for them to be productive citizens.

“Government is doing all it can to reduce the number of illiterate people in the country by encouraging all adults to attend classes in their respective villages. It remains  a concern that in this era where literacy is key in everything, others lack such skills.

“I therefore, call upon all parents and stakeholders to help government in ensuring that all children are going to school so that we should not increase number of illiterate people. I wonder why the country has such huge number of illiterate people yet we have free primary school education,” said Sendeza.

Sendeza inspecting pavillions at the event soon after arriving. Pic by Tikondane Vega-Mana

She said the country can only achieve sustainable development goal on education, if it ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030.

Acting Deputy Executive Secretary for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization David Mlera said a person can only be free if he or she is able to read and write saying illiterate people cannot participate in developmental activities freely.

Mulera therefore urged government and other stakeholders to put more efforts in adult literacy education saying addressing literacy and disadvantage requires high-quality teaching and resources.

During the celebrations, National Library service donated assorted books to 63 adults who also received certificates after completing 10 months schooling.

Since 1967, International Literacy Day celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.

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